This is by far the weirdest experience of the series. I feel comfortable talking about it because it happened 9 months ago. Wow. Was it really that long ago? Yeah, it was.
I remember them well. They were two of my very first interviews. I think I found the postings on LinkedIn. I was still in school, but it was ending quickly and the reality of my unemployment was starting to hit me hard. Naturally, I panicked. And applied for pretty much every listing LinkedIn had. Woo. I found two that were kind of weird but seemed cool. The listings were advertising “event marketers”. From the listing, it seemed like they were hiring pretty immediately and were eager to move people up in the company quickly–very quickly.
That should have been my first red flag.
After briefly checking out both of the websites for these companies, I went ahead and submitted my resume for both. I figured they were the same job, so if I got one, I could easily turn down the other. Or, if one place didn’t want me, maybe the other would. I heard back pretty quickly. I set up interviews at both places. There was one problem though. They didn’t seem to want to be flexible to fit with my school schedule. I was still in school and was in class until 1205. The place I had the first interview told me I could come at 1130. I explained that I was still in school and I couldn’t be there until 1230 at the earliest. Okay, the email reply said, 1215 it is.
I was honestly so excited to just have an interview I decided to try to make it work. The interview was about 20 minutes away from school and I was going to be trying to get there as fast as possible during lunch. Great. I decided to be honest with my professor and ask if I could step out a little early. He was completely understanding and seemed excited for me. Class ended up ending way early so I had time to jump in my car and hurry to the interview. I made it just in time.
I walked into the office and immediately made notice of one thing–the feeling of the building. It was a white brick building and looked like the company had just moved in. The interior also made it feel like an art gallery, which was weird. There was a desk, but no one sitting at it. There was also no one in the building that I could see. I looked around timidly and took a few steps into the building, towards the desk. Suddenly, a man came out of a room that was behind a strangely poorly built wall. I noticed he was wearing a grey suit with a purple shirt and purple tie.
“Hi, are you Mary? I’m Devin.” He was very tall and walked across the small “waiting area” quite quickly.
“Yes, I am,” I said, extending a hand to shake his. As it was November, it was cold and I had a coat with me, so I awkwardly shifted it and backpack to one side.
He looked at me and said, “I’m almost ready for our interview, but I need you to fill out this information sheet before. I’ll give you a few minutes.”
He handed me a clipboard with a not-so-official piece of paper on it that said across the top, “APPLICATION FOR EMPLOYMENT”. My immediate reaction was, ‘I’ve already done this, why do I have to do it again?” I starting filling out the application and suddenly the office felt a lot more like a doctor’s office than a marketing office. Or a potential job.
When I was done filling out the application, Devin (who I will refer to now as “Purple Suit” because, a) it is so much more fun, 2) I don’t actually remember if his name was actually Devin, and d) a purple shirt and tie combination was so…unique.)
I followed him into the office and sat down across from him. The office was very tiny. The interview was short and relatively painless. Actually, to be completely honest, I don’t really remember how it went. I remember telling him that my dream career was sports marketing, and how he didn’t really seem to be too excited about that. I remember that my first impression of Purple Suit was good but after he talked a bit more about the company I thought he was a bit weird. I also remember him explaining the position a little bit more and me not being very excited about it at all. Turns out the term “event marketing” at this company means going into a retailer and selling third party stuff. Purple Suit actually said, “You know, this job is event marketing, like at places like Costco, but we don’t work for Costco. We aren’t the lady in the back handing out chicken nuggets. We love her, she feeds us, but that’s not what we do.” It was the oddest thing I had really ever heard.
He paused once after explaining it a bit more and said, “Does this sound like something you’d be interested in?”
I didn’t want to be rude. But no, I was interested at all. In fact, I wanted to end the interview right then and say thanks but no thanks.
But instead I said, probably a bit too fake-ly, “It sounds like a…great opportunity.”
That seemed to satisfy Purple Suit. He went on to explain that they were doing more interviews that day and if they were interested in calling me back for another interview, they would contact me that evening.
I thanked him for his time and left the art gallery. I got in my car and thought about how the interview went. I decided it didn’t actually go that well but it was fine because I didn’t want the job anyway. I looked at the address for my next interview and was already hoping that it was much much different than the one I had just come from. Because the interview with Purple Suit ended so early, I decided to reward myself for getting there on time and managing to actually score an interview by getting a diet coke. There was a McDonald’s just down the street from the next interview place. I got my drink and then sat in my car waiting for an appropriate time to actually go into the interview. After about 20 minutes, I got out of my car and ditched my coat. After the awkwardness of having to deal with it at the last place, I decided I didn’t want to have to deal with it here.
I walked up to the building, found the suite, and noticed the exact same thing about the last place—this office looked brand new, almost as if the company literally sprang up overnight. It was a little off-putting but I decided to just go through with the interview.
I got to the office, walked in, and was a little relieved. The set up was a bit the same—the furniture seemed art gallery-ish and there was a receptionist desk right in the middle of the room. Sitting at the desk was a very energetic girl who was on the phone. She handed me and the other girl I walked in with a clipboard with a sheet of paper on it. I looked down. APPLICATION FOR EMPLOYMENT.
I sat down and started to fill out the sheet. Because I had so recently filled out one of these sheets, I sped right through it. When I was done, I started to look around the office. There were quite a few pictures lining the walls. They were all full of happy people grouped together around banners. I guessed they were employees who had completed a project or something. I kept looking and then I recognized someone. Standing, smiling, in 2 or 3 photos was Purple Suit. I’m not kidding. He was in this office. Of this company. Well not physically, but on the walls. It was so incredibly bizarre that I didn’t really know what to do.
I continued to sit there in shock as a girl came out of an office and called my name. I stood up, handed my clipboard to the energetic girl and followed the other girl, who looked about my age, into the office. She sat down, and the exact same interview I had just come out of commenced.
“Now, we aren’t the lady in the back of Costco, handing out chicken nuggets. Although we love her, she feeds us, that’s not what we do,” the interviewer paused to see my reaction at this point. I politely laughed but in my head I was freaking out over the strange position I found myself in. “Is this something you would be interested in?”
“Uh, it sounds like a great opportunity…” I responded, because what else was I supposed to do when I just came from the same interview, and the offices looked so quickly thrown together, and the boy who interviewed me at the first place was on the walls at the second place, and the girl interviewing me was barely older than I was, and I didn’t want this job at all and I knew it?
The words almost came out of my mouth at the beginning of the interview. The words that I didn’t want the position and I’m sorry to waste her time but I was no longer interested. They were on the tip of my tongue but nothing came out. I only smiled and politely laughed at the jokes but real laughed at the bizarre situation I found myself in.
The girl told me the same thing that Purple Suit did. If they were interested in a follow up, they would call me that evening.
I got in my car and drove back home. On the way, I called my dad and explained to him what had just happened to me. “Well,” he said after listening to my truly unbelievable story. “At least you got some interview experience. That’s always good.” Huh. I hadn’t even thought of it that way. Thanks dad.
Evening came…and went. No phone call. At first I was a little offended because it didn’t seem like a very difficult position and I thought I was qualified. Then I realized it was a blessing they didn’t call me back at all. Knowing me, I wouldn’t have been able to say no to either of the companies if they had called me. I would have just smiled and laughed politely at the lame jokes, all while wondering what decisions had led to Purple Suit working at both of these companies.